Campus Celebrity: Ben Silver '12

HC: How does it feel to be internet famous because of your posts on Uhart Confessions?

BS: That’s a pretty loaded question. I honestly don’t think it started there. I’ve always been pretty well-recognized, but I think there was definitely a resurgence in how well known I was when it started. It’s pretty cool sometimes, but I’d be a liar if I said it wasn’t strange. People come up to me (on and off campus) and approach me like I’m some sort of actual celebrity. It’s really awesome that people look up to me, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have heroes who wanted to be talked to like regular people, and I’d like to be the same.

HC: What helps you decided which posts you do/do not comment on?

BS: I’ve always been really passionate about all of the things I like, and I like to see other people who are the same way…but I really feel like there is a right way and a wrong way to approach things.

I tend to comment for a few reasons;

1) To call someone out for misinformation

2) To call someone out for logical fallacies

3) To call someone out for being terrible

4) Just because I think I’m really clever

5) To support someone else

6) Probably some other reasons that I can’t think of.

I definitely have some pretty strict morals that come into play, and I hate when people are bad at arguing.

HC: How does negative anonymous feedback on your comments affect you?

BS: I don’t leave anonymous commentary. Everything I say is backed by my name and reputation. When someone attacks me anonymously, I just try to take the higher road and stay my ground. For every anonymous threat or hateful message I’ve received, I’ve had 10 perfect strangers come up to me and thank me for the things I say and do. If the greater community didn’t want me around, I wouldn’t be around. I was floored one time when there were a string of anonymous hate confessions geared toward me. I was at work and didn’t see the firestorm of comments until an hour or so later. I didn’t have to jump in; there was an army of perfect strangers standing up for me. That’s what it’s about.

HC: What would be your advice for students sending hurtful messages through Uhart Confessions to their peers or organizations and groups on campus?

BS: I wish that I could show them how really terribly the things they say affect people. I wish I could show them just how much spectacular cowardice they possess…but here’s the thing, I can’t - and it wouldn’t work anyway. So, I don’t have things to say to such awful people. I do, however, have some really important things to say to everyone else. If you see something that’s wrong, call it out. If you see someone being a bully or a bigot or a sexist or a homophobe, call them out. If someone makes a claim, call them out. Where’s their proof? Do some research, stay informed. If you see someone calling out someone awful, back them up. You have no idea how much those likes and replies add to it all. I wasn’t upset by the awful messages that were posted about me, but I was absolutely ecstatic by how many strangers jumped to my defense.